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MTB News & Racing Round-up, July 8, 2010

Date published:
July 08, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • South Africa chooses World Championship team

    Burry stander sets the field alight.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 10:06 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cross country and downhill riders selected for Mont Sainte Anne

    Cycling South Africa selected its cross country and downhill teams for the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Saint-Ann in Canada from August 31 to September 5.

    Burry Stander, the 2009 Under 23 World Champion, will lead the elite men's cross country team, and he'll be joined by Matthys Beukes. Yolande Speedy will represent the elite women.

    World Cup leader Greg Minnaar will lead the men's downhill squad, which also includes Johann Potgieter and Andrew Neethling.

    The marathon World Championship team will be announced shortly.

    A full roster is below.

    South African Cross Country Team for the Mountain Bike World Championships

    Elite men
    Burry Stander
    Matthys Beukes

    Elite woman
    Yolande Speedy

    Under 23 men
    Rourke Croeser
    Phillip Buys

    Under 23 woman
    Mariska Strauss

    Junior men
    James Reid
    Luke Roberts
    Arno du Toit

    Junior woman
    Candice Neethling

    South African Downhill Team for the Mountain Bike World Championships

    Elite men
    Greg Minnaar
    Johann Potgieter
    Andrew Neethling

    Junior men
    Timothy Bentley
    Simon Dinkelman

  • Schurter hopes to win at home

    Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower)
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 13:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss Racer Bikes Cup heads to Flims

    The Racer Bikes Cup in Flims will serve as the final test for some racers before the European Championships next week in Israel, the national championships the following weekend and the World Cup in Champéry, Switzerland the weekend after that.

    World Champion Nino Schurter will head a talented field. Schurter would like to win this race, which is close to his home. He's played a role in the course layout around the Prau la Selva sports center. The course includes steep climbs, flowing singletrack and "spectacular" downhills according to organizers.

    "Thinking of the race in Flims, I'm particularly pleased, not only because it's my home race, but the course is modern one that's good for spectators, like a World Cup course," said Schurter. "It's a short, fast lap."

    Schurter's toughest competition is expected to come from former overall World Cup winner, multiple-time Swiss champion and former marathon World Champion Christoph Sauser as well as the current world's best Under 23 rider Matthias Flückiger and his brother Lukas, who was third in last year's Swiss championship in Chur. Another racer to watch will be Martin Gujan.

    Schurter, Lukas Flückiger and Christoph Sauser are currently ranked third, seventh and ninth in the world.

    Recently crowned European marathon champion Esther Süss will be back to try to take her third win at the venue in the women's race. Following a last-minute cancellation of attendance by Irina Kalentieva, the woman most likely to challenge Süss is Marielle Saner-Guinchard, who suprised some with a third place in the Swiss road time trial championships last weekend. Kathrin Leumann will also be at the start with a shot at the victory.

    Favorites in the Under 23 races include Matthias Flückiger, Patrick Gallati and Matthias Rupp for the men and Kathrin Stirnemann in the women's race.

    The top juniors to attend are Patrick Luthi, Fabian Paumann and Roger...

  • Nys on a quest for third Belgian Grand Prix victory

    Sven Nys races to 24th place
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 14:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Sankt-Vith round draws mountain bikers and cyclo-crossers

    Sven Nys is looking for another victory in round five of the Belgacom Belgian Grand Prix, which will happen at the Fidea Mountain Bike Cup at Sankt-Vith in the Eastern Townships on Sunday, July 4.

    Cyclo-crosser and mountain biker Nys is targeting what would be his third win in the series, as well as the UCI points that go along with it and would help him in the 2012 Olympic Games qualification process. But he's not the only rider with Olympic mountain bike aspirations; another 'crosser, Zdenek Stybar, shares the same dream and will also be racing Nys in Sankt-Vith as a favorite.

    With just two weeks to go until National Championships weekend, the two riders will be in good shape for a duel.

    Some other top riders on the elite men's start list are Thijs Al, Bart Wellens, Tom Meeusen, Gerben de Knegt, Lukas Kaufmann, Rudi Van Houts, Bjorn Brems, Jimmy Tielens and Dries Govaerts.

    Two riders will be notably absent, including Roel Paulissen, who will stay at his Italian home to continue training. In addition, Niels Wubben, the current series leader, is sitting out this round as he prepares for the European Championships next week.

    The women's race is expected to be a battle between Sanne Van Paassen, Petra Mermans and Githa Michiels.

  • Elliott splits time between cycling and skiing

    Tad Elliott (Sho-Air / Specialized) races at the Massanutten HooHa!
    Article published:
    July 02, 2010, 18:30 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Under 23 pro mixes it up with the elites

    On any given summer weekend, you can find Sho-Air/Specialized's Tad Elliott mixing it up with the pros at national-level cross country mountain bike races. The 21-year-old Durango, Colorado resident has been working his way up the ranks and is looking forward to the upcoming US National Championships in Granby, Colorado in the middle of July.

    In the winter, it's a time for a whole different sport for Elliott, who grew up cross country skiing and racing with his dad. The young rider has attracted attention in both sports.

    "I had a really good winter when I won the 50km national championships in cross country skiing," he said of the 2009-2010 ski season. "I went to the Under 23 worlds and there was a shot at the Winter Olympics. The criteria was a little hazy, and I thought maybe I would go with my results, but the coaches chose not to select me.

    "That was ok, I knew it was a long shot," he said. "So I just finished up the season and then hopped on a bike." That's when Elliott joined the Sho-Air/Specialized mountain bike team.

    Elliott races all distances on skis from 10km to 50km which covers durations of 30 minutes to two hours.

    "The transition between sports isn't bad," he said. "I ride a bit in the winter because it's fun and it keeps me fit. I hope to continue both sports and maybe at some point I'll have to pick one."

    In cycling, Elliott has one more year of under 23 racing left after this one, and he's hoping to make the most of it. He knows the competition will be tough in Granby at mountain bike nationals.

    "Rob Squire is going really fast. Stephen Ettinger and Russell Finsterwald are, too," he said, naming his likely competition.

    Last year, he had to sit out nationals, which were also held in Granby, after he broke his shoulder the week before. "I was riding with the Wells' brothers and they were going way faster than me. I was trying to keep up and tossed myself on the ground."

  • Gravity East heads to Highland MTB Park

    Donnie Roberts races at Highland Mountain Bike Park
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 15:00 BST
    Cycling News

    New course to be unveiled for round four

    The Gravity East Series will head to Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, New Hampshire, for round four on July 10-11.

    A brand new, freshly-cut race course will be unveiled for the first time at the event. Details of the downhill course have been kept top secret. Not even the Highland local pros Ben Moody (Rhino Bikes) and Erik Gosselin (Gravity Project) have been allowed to see the new course.

    The Highland race marks the midway point of the Gravity East schedule. Going into the weekend, Gavin Vaughan is leading the elite men's category with 565 total behinds. Just behind him is Richard Rude, Jr. with 560 points while Geritt Beytagh is in third place with 555 points.

    Dawn Bourque convincingly leads the women's series with a whopping 600 points. She is followed by Karen Eagan with 385 and Sue Haywood with 195.

    Course practice will happen Saturday and Sunday morning, with the racing to follow on Sunday.

  • US Pro XCT series wraps up this weekend in Colorado Springs

    Todd Wells (Specialized) is a good bet to win the US Pro XCT series title
    Article published:
    July 08, 2010, 21:12 BST
    Dave McElwaine

    Favorites line up for three-day stage race

    The USA Cycling Pro XCT series will make its final stop in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 9-11 at the Carmichael Training Systems International Classic presented by GT Bicycles. Racers will compete in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain, home of NORAD. This race is a UCI category-2 stage race and will feature a US$10,000 cash prize list for the elite riders. Most amateur classes will be offered as well.

    This will be the first event on the US Pro XCT calendar in which racers will compete in a mandatory three-day stage race. Any rider who skips a stage may not compete in the next stage. On Friday afternoon, racers will compete in a 4.39-mile time trial with 393 feet of climbing. The base elevation is over 6,000 feet. Organizers report that the time trial will use the locally infamous and highly technical Medicine Wheel Trail for a portion of the course.

    On Saturday evening, the elite men and women will compete in the cross country event using the same course as last year. Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) will be returning to attempt to make it two in a row. The course is also 4.39 miles long with 658 feet of climbing per lap. On the backside of the course, there are some challenging uphill switchbacks. The descent is twisty, rocky, and extremely fast. The run into the finish is on pavement. Men will race approximately 120 minutes, while the women will race 105 minutes (with exact number of laps to be determined on race day).

    "The course was awesome," said Todd Wells (Specialized) last year. "It was a good combination of flat, smooth, fast sections and rocky, technical sections up top. It was a real mountain bike course. Wells has a commanding lead in the US Pro XCT series of 85 points over Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain). Behind them, however, there will be a battle as only 30 points separate Plaxton, US National Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subau-Trek), and Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek). You can be sure that everyone...